Mark Znidar
Mark Znidar

Mark Znidar comes to Press Pros Magazine after 33 ½ years at The Columbus Dispatch. From 1996 until September 2018, he staffed high school sports, Ohio colleges that included the Mid-American Conference, Ohio State’s upcoming opponents in football and Ohio State baseball. In the previous three seasons he covered the Columbus Clippers triple-A baseball team. His other beats were Ohio State basketball (1985-88), Clippers (1985-86 and 1989-93), Cincinnati Bengals (1993-95) and NASCAR (1994-2008). He subbed on the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ohio State women’s basketball beats. In March 2017, Znidar was inducted into the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.  Znidar was born in Cleveland and raised in Richmond Heights. He graduated from Cleveland St. Joseph High School and the University of Dayton. He also worked for The Atlantic City Press, Lake County News-Herald and Baltimore News-American. He has a daughter, Amanda, son-in-law Josh and four grandchildren.

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Flyers way too charitable, losing a fumble and four interceptions in 31-7 loss to Division III Bishop Watterson.  Mark Znidar writes the story for Press Pros.

Columbus – It was that kind of kick-in-the-pants night for Marion Local football players and coaches that the misery just kept coming long after a game against Bishop Watterson had ended.

A couple of card tables full of pizza boxes were lined up outside the Griffin Student Center where the Flyers were leaving their locker room;  and they had to eat to the sounds of Eagles fans carrying on as if their team had won a state semifinal.

Those fans weren’t going anywhere, either, because there is one exit and it was like a parade in a holding pattern in the parking lot.

Then there was the almost 2-hour bus ride back home.

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Jake Hoying threw for touchdowns of 7, 79, 8 and 20 yards and Bishop Watterson intercepted four passes – and recovered a fumble – in a 31-7 defeat of Marion Local before a standing room crowd of 2,500 on Friday night at Panther Field on the campus of Ohio Dominican University.

If the name sounds familiar, Hoying is the son of former St. Henry and Ohio State quarterback Bobby. He’s a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior and the finest pure passer the school has had since current Ohio State pitching coach Dan DeLucia.

The score certainly looks like a beatdown, but pour over the play-by-play sheet and it reveals a Flyers team that never gave it a chance.

“Most of the plays we competed well, but the score isn’t going to indicate that,’’ coach Tim Goodwin said. “Offensively, we shot ourselves in the foot over and over and over, and defensively we just had a couple of big breakdowns.’’

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This is going to be a strange week of practice for the Parkway game (Marion’s next opponent), in that Marion Local has not lost a regular season game, other than to Coldwater, since 2012 against Versailles in Week 5.

These Flyers are very much an unknown bunch in that four starters are back from the Division VI championship team.

Tailback Brandon Fleck, a senior, promised improvement.

Marion Local’s Brandon Fleck (25) carries the ball late in the second quarter for the Flyers’ only touchdown during a 31-7 loss to Bishop Watterson..

“We’re disappointed in ourselves,’’ he said. “We came out thinking we could beat them, but gave it up at the end. We’re going to fix this. This is just a little bump. It is different with all the new guys we’ve got. We’ll learn from this and get better. We’ll move on to next week. But this is shocking.’’

The bad stuff started when a 94-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Muhlenkamp to Peyton Otte on Marion Local’s first play from scrimmage was nullified by an ineligible receiver downfield penalty.

It continued when a botched pitchout was recovered by Bishop Watterson defensive back Sam Intihar at the Flyers’ 13-yard line with 8:18 left in the first quarter.

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Three plays later, tight end Davis Boone caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Hoying to make it 7-0.

Then there was just plain lousy luck when a cornerback slipped and fell on a long sideline pass to Eagles receiver Andrew Bettendorf. Bettendorf made the catch at his 45-yard line and ran untouched for a 71-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 with 5:55 left in the second quarter.

Hand in the way…Bishop Watterson’s Henry Blevins (8) knocks the ball away from Marion Local’s Austin Wendel (85) during Friday’s loss to the Eagles.

Marion Local came right back when Fleck broke and avoided tackles on a dazzling 59-yard touchdown three minutes later.

Bishop Watterson, though, made it 21-7 on its first drive of the third quarter when Hoying threw to Bettendorf’s back shoulder 3 yards deep in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown to make it 21-7.

The Flyers thought they had a chance to win going into the fourth quarter, but they smacked themselves in the side of the head again.

“We thought we were going to get decent field position with a punt right at the beginning of the fourth quarter,’’ Goodwin said. “We dropped the punt and had a block in the back (penalty). Instead of having the ball in plus territory, we were at our 30 again. They have that great kicker and it was a long field all night.’’

After an exchange of possessions, a roughing the punter penalty kept a Bishop Watterson drive alive, and the result was a 27-yard field goal by Jonah Fortkamp that made it 24-7 with 3:22 left to play.

That pretty much ended any thoughts of a stirring comeback.

Bishop Watterson junior Cam Nickleson (3) carries the ball for the final touchdown during their 31-7 win over Marion Local.

“Hopefully, we learn from this,’’ Goodwin said. “We really are green in a lot of spots, and we weren’t tested in any of our scrimmages, especially in pass defense. The other team couldn’t throw the ball 15 yards, and we come here and the guy is throwing the ball all over the place and laying it on the money.’’

It’s obvious that Bobby Hoying hasn’t filled his son’s head with tales of hatred for Marion Local from his high school days. Jake is a Columbus kid, and the MAC might as well be on Mars.

But he does know that the Flyers have portfolio and that this victory will add to a lot of computer points.

“I knew they have been a really dominant team and they are so well coached – you can see that on film,’’ Hoying said. “But I figured if we played our best game and they played their best game, that we’d beat them.

“This is a big energy boost for us. We know our record the last couple of years didn’t show what kind of team we really had, so it’s great to finally start winning again. We’ve got a whole new coaching staff in here, and the culture they brought in is getting to the entire team.”

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